americans The Greatest American Actresses of All Time  

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List Rules Vote up and add the best AMERICAN actresses to have ever lived. Vote on each actress's entire body of work. Remember, Helen Mirren is not American.

It takes a lot to make a movie great. There has to be excellent writing, production, direction, editing, and of course, acting. While the crew draws out the parameters for a movie, the actors are who color in the film to bring it to life, and without great acting, a great film can crumble. Who is the greatest American actress of all time? 

These actresses are the ones who deliver time and again, regardless of how good the script or the production of the film is. From classic Hollywood legends to new rising stars, these are the greatest American actresses ever. Who are the best actresses? That's up to you to decide. This list is votable and rerankable, and if you don't see someone on here that deserves a spot, feel free to add them. 

list ordered by

1
1,375 789
Katharine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Katharine Hepburn The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Bringing Up Baby

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2
1,635 1,267
Meryl Streep is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Meryl Streep The Iron Lady, Kramer vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada

3
1,000 620
Joan Crawford is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added Joan Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Mildred Pierce

4
877 732
Jessica Lange is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Jessica Lange Tootsie, Big Fish, Cape Fear

5
1,022 823
Jodie Foster is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, The Accused

6
867 431
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

7
887 1,011
Bette Davis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Bette Davis All About Eve, Dark Victory, Jezebel

8
646 688
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
DolittleD added Kathy Bates Titanic, Misery, The Blind Side

9
611 338
Judy Garland is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
stefan-komisch added Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, P.S. I Love You, Judgment at Nuremberg

10
684 562
Anne Bancroft is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Anne Bancroft The Graduate, The Miracle Worker, The Elephant Man

11
546 712
Frances McDormand is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Frances McDormand Fargo, Burn After Reading, Almost Famous

12
617 716
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Jane Fonda On Golden Pond, Klute, Monster-in-Law

13
659 1,030
Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Elizabeth Taylor Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

14
727 1,161
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Susan Sarandon Thelma and Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Man Walking

15
670 924
Glenn Close is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
jsnungaray added Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons, Cookie's Fortune, The World According to Garp

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16
722 713
Diane Keaton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Diane Keaton Annie Hall, Something's Gotta Give, The Godfather

17
815 525
Grace Kelly is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Grace Kelly To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder

18
624 622
Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Lauren Bacall To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, How to Marry a Millionaire

19
613 969
Sigourney Weaver is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Sigourney Weaver Alien, Ghostbusters, Avatar

20
506 551
Sissy Spacek is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sissy Spacek Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, In the Bedroom

21
679 701
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julianne Moore The Kids Are All Right, Non-Stop, Carrie

22
669 605
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Michelle Pfeiffer The Family, Scarface, What Lies Beneath

23
544 489
Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Natalie Wood Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Miracle on 24th Street

24
554 454
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Whoopi Goldberg The Lion King, Toy Story 3, Ghost

25
364 301
Jessica Tandy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jessica Tandy The Birds, Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes

26
548 807
Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment, The Apartment, Steel Magnolias

27
874 774
Sandra Bullock is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Sandra Bullock Miss Congeniality, Gravity, The Blind Side

28
572 506
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Helen Hunt As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Pay it Forward

29
766 700
Julia Roberts is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Julia Roberts Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias

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30
423 414
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Lucille Ball All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door

31
320 178
Diane Lane is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Diane Lane Man of Steel, The Outsiders, The Perfect Storm

32
423 547
Annette Bening is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty, The American President

33
454 279
Myrna Loy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Myrna Loy The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, The End

34
397 433
Ellen Burstyn is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

35
420 637
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Goldie Hawn Overboard, First Wives Club, Private Benjamin

36
378 303
Mary Tyler Moore is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Mary Tyler Moore Ordinary People, Moon, Flirting with Disaster

37
325 107
Susan Hayward is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Susan Hayward Demetrius and the Gladiators, I Want to Live!, Valley of the Dolls

38
430 325
Jean Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Jean Stapleton You've Got Mail, Klute, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

39
170 26
Rita Hayworth is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
pload added Rita Hayworth The Shawshank Redemption, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai

40
253 124
Ginger Rogers is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Amos added Ginger Rogers Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee

41
452 476
Joanne Woodward is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve, Rachel, Rachel

42
328 242
Claudette Colbert is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
screwballcomedyfan added Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night, The Palm Beach Story, It's a Wonderful World

43
422 875
Barbara Stanwyck is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Barbara Stanwyck The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire, Sorry

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44
418 360
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Gene Tierney Laura, Leave Her to Heaven, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

45
419 336
Shirley Temple is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Shirley Temple Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel

46
254 264
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
CraigAlarm added Kathleen Turner Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Virgin Suicides, The War of the Roses

47
288 125
Rachel McAdams is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
swirlyt added Rachel McAdams Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers

48
369 243
Helen Hayes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
looksharp added Helen Hayes Cinema Paradiso, Airport, Herbie Rides Again

49
377 531
Hilary Swank is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
Hilary Swank Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers

50
230 313
Sharon Stone is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Sharon Stone Casino, Total Recall, Basic Instinct